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Play Away: New Course Review

Arrowood Golf Course, Ocean-side (public). Opening: May 1.
Golfers familiar with Ted Robinson's work will recognize his influence here in the wide driving lanes and peaceful views of nearby foothills and flower fields. This was his son's design, however, and Ted Jr. has put his own stamp on it, creating challenging approach shots to petite greens protected by menacing bunkers—some of which had to be softened to avoid torturing the daily-fee clientele.
Architect: Ted Robinson Jr. Yardage: 6,617. Par: 71. Greens Fees: $50–$75. Tee Times: 760-967-8400, arrowoodgolf.com.

The Golf Club at Escena Palm Springs, Palm Springs (public). Opening: April.
Contributing to the city of Palm Springs' renaissance is this residential golf course community just ten minutes east of downtown. A surprising abundance of lakes and streams weave their way through the grounds of this desert-style layout. A clubhouse, to be designed in Jetsons-like style, and the course's prevalent waste bunkers—purposely matched to the color of the imposing Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains—look like they've been around since the city's heyday in the fifties and sixties.
Architect: Nicklaus Design. Yardage: 7,211. Par: 72. Greens Fees: $100–$150. Tee Times: escenapalmsprings.com.

The Palmer Course at the Tesoro Club, Port St. Lucie (private). Opening: March.
Since most of its holes snake through protected wetlands and old-growth pines, members here could easily forget they're in a burgeoning area just twenty miles north of Palm Beach. In addition to private beach access on nearby Hutchinson Island, they'll soon enjoy twenty-seven more holes designed by Tom Watson. By the time those are built, members may have figured out Palmer's clever sloping greens.
Architect: Arnold Palmer. Yardage: 7,451. Par: 72. Guest Fee: $100. Membership: 772-336-0020, tesoroclub.com.

The Traditions of Braselton Golf Club, Jefferson (semiprivate). Opening: April 4.
With seventeen years of service under Arthur Hills and with several designs in the Atlanta area, Mike Dasher was an easy choice to make the most of this heavily wooded, rolling landscape. In addition to routing the course so water is in play on twelve holes, he placed a premium on driving the ball to a target and putting on the undulating greens, many of which boast elevated surfaces, falloffs or false fronts.
Architect: Mike Dasher. Yardage: 6,876. Par: 72. Greens Fees: $44–$58. Tee Times: 706-658-0070, traditionsofbraselton.com.

Greywalls Course, Marquette Golf Club, Marquette (semiprivate). Opening: April 30.
The views from 400 feet above Lake Superior are actually the second most striking feature of this new links-like layout, which joins the club's Heritage course. Rather than blasting away the sixty- to eighty-foot-high granite formations that traversed the property, architect Mike DeVries artfully fit them into the design as embankments to elevated tees, borders to fairways and rugged backdrops to greens. The result is an old-world stunner, teeming with natural ruggedness.
Architect: Mike DeVries. Yardage: 6,828. Par: 71. Greens Fees: $75–$125. Tee Times: 906-225-0721, marquettegolfclub.com.

Highland National Golf Course, St. Paul (municipal). Reopening: April.
A two-year $4 million overhaul has re-established the 1920s-era Highland National as the jewel in the crown of St. Paul's four public facilities. In addition to solving the course's drainage issues by adding ten interconnected ponds, the layout was lengthened, mounded and bunkered to modern standards. The routing, which had largely bypassed the opulent Spanish mission–style clubhouse, now begins and ends under its glow. One bunker, on the fifteenth, is shaped like Snoopy in homage to Charles Schulz, who caddied here as a boy.
Architect: Emile Perret and Donald G. Brauer (original); Gill Design, Inc. (reconstruction). Yardage: 6,638. Par: 72. Greens Fees: $35–$39. Tee Times: 651-695-3774.

The Cliffs at Walnut Cove, Arden (private). Opening: May 3.
Unlike many newer courses that are all sizzle and no steak, the Asheville area's latest private layout should provide its members with plenty of both. Set against the majestic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Pisgah National Forest, this Jack Nicklaus Signature layout is capable of taking one's breath away. Driving lanes are ample, but the golf shots become decidedly more demanding—often downright daunting—the closer they get to the hole.
Architect: Jack Nicklaus Signature. Yardage: 7,069. Par: 71. Tee Times: 800-884-2958, cliffscommunities.com.

Old Trail Golf Club, Crozet (public). Opening: April 1.
Co-owner and PGA professional Jerry Kamis spent a year sketching routings before finalizing the plan for this course, one that his partners felt bested the submissions from, among others, the Nicklaus, Cupp, Hills and Ault-Clark firms. The true accomplishment was integrating the property's three disparate topographic styles—densely wooded forest, treeless pastureland and undulating, creek-laden parkland—into a design that flows seamlessly.
Architect: Jerry Kamis. Yardage: 6,914. Par: 72. Greens Fees: $39–$49. Tee Times: 434-823-8101, oldtrailgolf.com.

The Golf Course at Bear Mountain Ranch, Lake Chelan (public). Opening: April.
Despite top-of-the-world views that inspire hit-it-a-mile confidence, restraint is the name of the game at this course (part of a planned, full-scale resort) carved into the hills above Lake Chelan. Here, if one's ball strays from the generous fairways, it's likely over a cliff, in a pond or, if fortunate, stuck in the native sagebrush. The views of the aforementioned lake, visible from every hole, are enough to soothe the sting.
Architect: Robert Yount. Yardage: 7,350. Par: 72. Greens Fees: $50–$70. Tee Times: 509-682-8200, golfbearmountain.com.

Real De Faula, Benidorm (public). Opening: June.
At the base of a mountain range overlooking the beach resort of Benidorm—and across the road from a popular theme park—lies the Nicklaus team's newest international golf course venture. They've mostly smoothed out the harsh, rocky landscape to make Real De Faula a player-friendly affair, but left a few deep ravines and go-for-broke opportunities for those who are seeking a different kind of thrill ride.
Architect: Nicklaus Design. Yardage: 7,230. Par: 72. Greens Fees: $78–$104. Tee Times: 011-34/91-531-0707.


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